The Art Institute is looking for dedicated, reliable, and energetic individuals who would like to experience this world-famous institution from the inside—as a volunteer!
Join the over 800 volunteers who help make this institution feel like home to members and visitors from across the world. The Art Institute consists of both the museum and the school, and there are opportunities available in both.
Requirements We are looking for individuals who would like to share their love for this museum and its iconic collection with a diverse and global audience.
Public Contact Opportunities
Visitor Engagement Volunteers
We are looking for energetic, enthusiastic, and outgoing volunteers to direct and inform our visitors in the coming year. These volunteers are the face of the museum to both our members and the public and make sure that everyone who walks through our entrance is greeted warmly and has the most up-to-date information available about the museum, its collections and programs, and the city of Chicago. These volunteers staff info desks and kiosks, or they are on the move throughout the museum and its galleries, looking for visitors who need assistance.
The museum gets increasingly busy during the weekends in the fall as we welcome visitors from all over the world. We are looking for high school and college student volunteers to help direct visitors to our special exhibitions and their favorite works of art, to participate in special events, and to help with our visitor surveys. This is the perfect opportunity for students to immerse themselves in art and make new friends. Being a student volunteer is also great for fulfilling community service requirements, resume building, and college applications. The training is accelerated and student volunteers need to commit to only one semester. Opportunities are available to fit any schedule, including Thursday evenings and weekends.
Greeters need to be able to be physically active for a shift of three to four hours, exhibit excellent customer engagement skills, and have the ability to represent the museum in a positive way. Being multilingual is a plus. Training consists of two half-days followed by three mentoring sessions.
Information volunteers help at the various information desks/kiosks located throughout the museum. Volunteers at these stations are able to sit down for periods of time but an active engagement with our visitors is encouraged. Computer and iPad experience and phone skills are required. Training consists of two half-days followed by three mentoring sessions.
Ryerson and Burnham Libraries Volunteers
The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries constitute a major art and architecture research collection serving the Art Institute of Chicago and scholars in the fields of art and architectural history with more than 500,000 print titles, 100,000 auction catalogs, 1,200 current serial subscriptions, and extensive digital collections. Approximately 10,000 volumes are added annually. The following volunteer positions are available:
Reception Desk Volunteer
The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries are seeking a volunteer to work one to two four-hour shifts per week at our reception desk. This volunteer will be the first face encountered by visitors to the libraries, and will make sure that everyone who walks through our doors is welcomed and oriented to the libraries' policies and procedures. Duties include orienting visitors, explaining and enforcing library policies, assisting with reading room security by searching bags as visitors exit, fielding general questions on the libraries and referring guests to the circulation and/or reference desks, and assisting with circulation duties for research staff and SAIC faculty members. Volunteers must be comfortable with computers and have an interest in the libraries, our rich collections, and our diverse and engaged patron base.
Libraries Technical Services Volunteer
Working with library staff, duties may include helping with acquisitions, cataloging, and physical processing of library materials, depending on the skills and interests of the volunteer. Volunteers will need to be detail oriented, comfortable with computer searching, and have a basic knowledge of Microsoft Office software. Foreign language skills are a plus.
Group Visit Volunteer
The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries are seeking a volunteer to work one morning a week assisting with group visits. This volunteer will assist library staff with pulling materials from the stacks and using the automated library system to check materials out to our class visit account or course reserve shelves, as appropriate. Other duties may include generating bibliographies, setting up materials for visits, and processing labels. Volunteers must be detail oriented, comfortable with lifting materials that are sometimes large and heavy, and able to use computers. Familiarity with Microsoft Office programs and comfort with learning new software systems is preferred.
Library Donation Volunteer
The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries are seeking a volunteer to assist with processing donations one morning a week. Working with library staff, the volunteer will assist in determining whether materials will be added to the collection by searching the online catalog and other bibliographic databases. Other duties associated with the position include generating lists of donated materials, tagging and shelving donated materials, and processing materials that will not be added to the collection. Volunteers will need to be detail oriented, comfortable with computer searching, and have a basic knowledge of Microsoft Office software.
School of the Art Institute Volunteer Opportunities
AIADO Material Collection Resource Center Volunteers
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago offers a resource center of materials and finishes for in AIADO faculty and students. Faculty and students have access to an array of current design material samples provided by top manufacturers. Samples include building materials, textiles, wall and floor coverings, plastic laminates, wood and glass products, hardware, and paints. All materials in the resource center are cataloged in the CSI format, the standard for all professional design libraries. Additionally the resource center has a variety of books from the estate of John Kurtich and AIADO. Volunteers supplement the staffing of the resource center so that more students can take advantage of the area.
Fashion Resource Center
The Fashion Resource Center maintains a unique hands-on collection of late 20th- and 21st-century designer garments and accessories representative of extreme innovation. The center's singular nature is defined not only by the visitor's ability to handle the apparel but also by the extensive visual, print, and fabric reference collection that support and illuminate the garments and the study of attire. These elements combine to provide students and guests with a creative and educational environment in which to explore the most progressive achievements in the world of dress and fashion. The volunteer serves a vital role helping to keep the FRC open during extended hours.
All applicants who are members get first priority for interviews.